News / Middle East

Islamist Group Calls for Muslim States to Protect Sunnis in Iraq

FILE - Qatar's Egyptian-born cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi
FILE - Qatar's Egyptian-born cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi
Reuters
Islamist scholars led by influential Qatar-based cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi urged Arab and Islamic states on Thursday to protect Sunni Muslims in Iraq, where sectarian war threatens after Sunni Islamist insurgents overran much of the country's north.
 
Fighters from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized a swathe of northern Iraqi towns last week in a southwards thrust towards Baghdad, stunning the country's Shi'ite Muslim-led central government.
 
The United States is considering an Iraqi request to launch air strikes on ISIL and Iran's president said on Wednesday his countrymen would not hesitate to defend Shi'ite shrines in Iraq.
 
Iraq's energy-rich Gulf Arab neighbors, all Sunni monarchies, have condemned ISIL but blame the Baghdad government for the crisis by failing to share power with Iraq's Sunni minority.
 
“Sunnis have suffered a great injustice and severe exclusion, so it is natural to make a popular revolution against injustices,” the International Union of Muslim Scholars said in a statement issued from Doha in Qatar.
 
“The union calls for Arab and Islamic states to prevent any aggression against Sunnis in Iraq, and for the consolidation of efforts to achieve the legitimate rights of all Iraqis.”
 
Qaradawi is one of the Muslim world's pre-eminent preachers and maintains close links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was overthrown and banned in a military takeover in Egypt last year.
 
Qatar's backing of the Brotherhood and shelter for Qaradawi has stoked tension with other Gulf monarchies, who oppose them.
 
But his group echoed recent statements by Gulf states condemning ISIL by rejecting “terrorist” groups it said violate Muslim principles.
 
“There's a need for unity for all honorable Iraqis, and a need for them to stand against the danger of sectarian strife and work to stop fighting and start reconciliation,” the union of Muslim scholars added in their statement.
 
Iraqi government forces were battling ISIL for control of the country's biggest refinery on Thursday as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki waited for a U.S. response to an appeal for air strikes to beat back the threat to Baghdad.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More